Tesla police cars are not unheard of — several police forces have them — but they also aren’t widespread. For some reason, I’m always super fascinated by them, and I’m also generally bewildered about why they aren’t much more common.
Naturally, the quick acceleration of a Tesla must be very appealing to the police, as well as their quiet drivetrains (which help a police officer to be stealthier). Then there’s the low maintenance (including less downtime, which is expensive), low fuel costs, and convenience of regular charging at the station.
However, there is a higher upfront cost than a typical police car (assuming the cost of the after-purchase mods are comparable no matter what model you get). The question is: do the operational savings make up for that higher upfront cost? Considering how many miles a typical police car drives, my guess would be “yes,” but let’s look at some numbers.
The police department for the town of Bargersville, Indiana, bought a Tesla Model 3 a bit more than a year ago for its fleet. Aside from absolutely loving the car, Police Chief Todd Bertram shared records of the Model 3’s expensive versus a Dodge Charger’s expenses after one year in service — and the savings are staggering.
Here's the real deal 👇🏻
The Bargersville Police Department 🚔 compared the cost of ownership of a Dodge Charger and a Tesla Model 3 in 1 year.
Dodge Charger – $ 7,580👎🏻
Model 3 – $ 825❤️
— Eva Fox 🦊 火星 (@EvaFoxU) September 29, 2020
Just looking at fuel and maintenance costs, after one year, the Model 3 saved the police department $6,755. If you consider that a Model 3 Long Range costs $47,000 and a Dodge Charger Scat Pack has an MSRP of $40,500, you start saving money on the Tesla within one year. Choose a lower-end Charger (like the SXT or GT) and it take a bit more than two years. Of course, you could also get the Model 3 Standard Range Plus if 250 miles a day is plenty for your needs, and that option starts at $38,000.
That does ignore a few other factors when it comes to total cost of ownership, such as depreciation (the Model 3 should fare much better, and the difference is likely to be thousands of dollars), tires (the Bargersville hadn’t yet replaced the tires, but was on the verge of doing so), and insurance (I have no idea how to compare that for a police force). However, no matter how you count things up, it looks like the Model 3 would come out on top.
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All images courtesy Bargersville Police Department